Thursday, 28 February 2013

Book review: Grimsley Hollow - The Chosen One by Nicole Storey

An enjoyable Halloween ride with a cool hero

I really enjoyed this book. I love Halloween and so it was cool for me that the book is set during that time, especially as we don’t celebrate it much in the UK. We are transported into Gage’s (main character) world and see everything through his eyes. Gage is also autistic, so the reader learns what this means for our hero. I found this an interesting addition and it opened my eyes to some things, such as how Gage’s senses are more acute than the average person – taste, smell and hearing, in particular. He also tries to control how he reacts or overreacts to things. It’s a really fascinating addition to the book and we get a youth who is not your typical hero, which is the point - everyone is a hero.

At the beginning of the book, we learn that Gage doesn’t really have any friends. His family seems a happy one and he loves his sister, Sydney, dearly. She gives him confidence. As the writer tells us, ‘in her eyes, he was a hero. Sydney made him feel important; she looked up at him when so many others simply looked through him.' Things like this made me remember how weird and baffling things often were when growing up, and the author gets it spot on. But Gage is not a sad character - instead I found him fun.

Gage has a big imagination and his own hideout – the fort, guarded by Tonka, the dog – where the boy likes to start a ‘mission... his monster-bashing adventures’, the writer tells us. Gage is also a budding writer, it seems, as he imagines his missions and writes them down. But things take a strange turn when the boy makes the discovery of an unusual object that shouldn’t really be there. Then he meets the odd, but enigmatic Eve and the adventure really takes off.

The author has created a believable setting for her characters to inhabit. There are rich descriptions of the human world and that of Grimsley Hollow, well-rounded players, a gripping plot and suspense. Gage is a great central character, and I enjoyed how he learns about himself and others, and slowly builds some confidence. 

I recommend this book simply because I know you’re going to enjoy it.

Book links:

Blog (Nicole's)

A poem a day (3): Wings

The third day in my five-minute or so poetry blitz in a bid to get writing...


Vibrant wings flutter
Echoes of colour
Spread across a wave
Of ever-moving streams
With just a speck of dust
The gossamer shimmers
So fine, like cobwebs 
Woven from silk
She haunts the light
In her evening flight
Sweeping high and low
Watching, never turning
Away from this source
Of purest light

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop

Hi, this week I'm thrilled to be involved in the
Leap into Books Giveaway Hop... griiivet
February 28 - March 7
Co-hosted by Jinky is Reading

I'm giving away a collection of my books, suitable for readers aged 10-100 -
Kiwi in Cat City
Kiwi and the Missing Magic
Day of the Living Pizza
Day of the Pesky Shadow

There are 4 collections up for grabs in ebook format. 
To win one, just fill in the bits and bobs on the Rafflecopter!
Have a cool week and don't forget to hop to the other cool blogs on the linky!
Thanks for entering and good luck!
Purrs, Vickie

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A poem a day (2): The silencing

The silencing

Waking, she tells the time
Of a summer rhyme
Lost between the walls
So white and drifting in

Losing life by supper time 
Her words turn into mime
Lost inside these walls
So grey and beckoning

A balancing act so fine
Where to draw the line?
Lost within these walls
So black and closing in

Sleep offers me a sign
Silencing thoughts of mine
At one inside these walls
So dark I'm sinking in

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A poem a day (1): Rebegin

Hi! I decided to start a new thing called 'A poem a day'. I just realised that I've only done one day's writing on fiction this year, apart from writing features and the odd poem here and there, so hopefully this will help my creative hamster to jumpstart his wheel... hopefully... come on, fluffy!
Here goes... see how many days I can keep this up! 

Some haiku

In the morning sun
I begin my reverie
Awash in sunlight

Fall in clover, smiles -
Birdsong lifts my spirits high 
To soar in white wisps


She aches, aching
To find nothing sinking
Blues in the apparent
Greens sinking in hue
Beginning, fulfilling
Every measure sought
The whale song lingers
Forgetting every breeze
The mirror weeps
A lip curls to a smile
So here she walks
Never a ghost to be

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to the following winners, who were picked by random by Rafflecopter.

Overall winner, Kt Amanda, wins a paperback copy of 3 Heads & a Tail and the five runners-up win an ebook version.

Congratulations to the runners-up -

Erma Hurtt
Rebecca Sweeney Graf
Meghan Stith
Sheesha Robinson
Terri Shaw

I'll be emailing you shortly! :)))
Thanks so much for taking part. Have a lovely day! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 15 February 2013

Words with... Armand Rosamilia

Today I'm welcoming Armand Rosamilia to my blog. The M&M-loving author, 
who has been writing since he was twelve, has fifty titles under his belt. 
He mainly writes horrors and thrillers. During his time out, you might 
just find him downing a banana bread beer and listening to Slayer...

What is your day job or are you lucky enough to write for a living?

I’m lucky enough to have been doing this for a living since last September, when I lost my retail management job. So far, it was the greatest thing to ever happen to me. I can devote each and every day to doing what I love most – writing and creating – instead of on mindless sales and reports, and whining customers.

What books have you written so far?

I have over fifty published stories/novellas/novels right now, and I’m adding more each week, it seems. I mostly write in the horror field, although I’ve dabbled in thrillers, spy stories and erotica.

What works in progress do you have?

Always a few projects… Right now my main focus is finishing Miami Spy Games Part 7, as well as Cabal, the third Keyport Cthulhu story, as well as a co-authored story with Tim Baker called Dying Days: The Siege of European Village. Oh, and Dying Days: Origins, and a few more…

How long did it take you to write your book/s?

I try to hit 2,000 words a day on whatever I am working on, but I might split the word count with two or more projects, and usually go well over that. With the Miami Spy Games being around 8,000 words each, I can do the first draft in about four days.

Do you write linear, or jump back and forth? Do you plan or write by the seat of your pants?

I am a total pantser. Outlines kill me creatively; it never works for me. I tend to write certain scenes, but move them around in the story and don’t worry about writing one word at a time until the story is done. I let the characters tell me where they are heading and I try to keep up.

Why do you write?

I have to. I always wrote, even as a pre-teen. It is just a natural part of my life, and even when I worked 70-80 mind-numbing hours at a job I hated, I still squeezed in some writing.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was twelve. I took time off during bad periods, like my two failed marriages and working so much; time I wish I could get back, but I’m glad for the life experience. Now I get to bring up those memories, and kill people in stories over and over… um, forget I said that!

Where and when do you write? Do you have set times?

I try to keep a daily routine going. I sit down in the local library at nine each morning and write until noon, when I start getting hungry. Then I break for lunch, and if I am still going, I will write after lunch until 2pm when I collect my son from high school. At night, I usually answer emails and do other stuff like endless promotion. But I can get in 2,000 words a day without a problem. On the weekends I write when I can, in between sleeping, my kids and my busy social life.

Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?

There is a little bit of me in most of my characters, I think. I can relate to them; even the ones with messed up moral compasses or the nasty evil ones, because there is personal motivation behind them. My favourite is easily Darlene Bobich, the star of the Dying Days series. She is a normal woman with no superpowers who is just trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. She cries, she gets dirty, and she has normal human emotions.

What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?

Reading inspires me to write. It’s always been the old cliché that I can do better than what I am reading. Sometimes it is true, although writers like Brian Keene, John Everson, Douglas Clegg and others prove me wrong. But I like the challenge in my own head to write the best possible story and see how it matches with my favourite authors.

What do you think is the ideal recipe for a good novel or story?

A page turner. I don’t care if you write horror, thrillers, romance, or non-fiction… it has to engage the reader to not want to put it down. We’ve all been in that spot with a great book – it’s two in the morning and work beckons in a couple of hours, but we just need to finish this next chapter to see what happens.

Have you ever based a character on someone from real life? And did you tell them?

I’ve had several characters based on actual people, especially in Dying Days 2: Steve ‘The Breeze’ Brack, Michael Ross, David Monsour, Ellen Harden, Russ ‘Madman’ Meyer and Tosha Shorb. They all knew it and loved it. Several of them also appear in the prequel short stories in Still Dying: Select Scenes from Dying Days. Tosha Shorb and David Monsour will eventually appear in Dying Days: Origins as well.

If you had to pick some actors/actresses to play the characters in your book, who would you hire?

Good question. I’d love to hire Alyssa Milano. Not to play Darlene Bobich, but because she is my dream girl and I want an excuse to be around her.

Fave things: animal? food? drink? film? colour? band? song? place? item of clothing?

I am not an animal person at all. I love buffets, which is really bad. I drink sweet tea by the gallon, love banana bread beer… love to watch comedies (This Is Spinal Tap is my favourite), but not too many horror movies with lots of blood. Colour is red or black (as long as it is the colour of a thong on a big butt – just sayin’). I am a heavy metal guy – especially thrash metal like Slayer, Anthrax, Overkill, etc. Favourite song, though, is Anything, Anything by Dramarama. I love the area near Matanzas Inlet here in Florida, where Dying Days is set. I love to wear black T-shirts, but a red or black thong on a big butt is my favourite…

When you were a kid, what did you want to do/who did you want to be when you grew up?

At twelve I announced to my mom and dad that I wanted to become a writer. True story. But I wish I’d said a rich and famous writer. If I could go back in time, I’d kick my twelve-year-old ass for being so stupid…

Would you say that your dreams have come true or are you still working on them?

I set goals, and when one is completed, I find another one. I have been blessed to be able to get up each morning and no longer have to get a ‘real job’. I am doing what I love, and with each passing day I make small goals and accomplish most of them.

You’re walking in the forest and you bump into an alien librarian from Mars. He wants five book recommendations from you…

Martians can’t go wrong reading something from Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo, The Southern Hauntings Saga from Bryan Hall, Pump It Up from Tim Baker, Sundowner from Tonia Brown or The Rising from Brian Keene.

Who is your favourite character from any book and why?

Conan the barbarian. He is such a bad ass, and I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I have the complete Marvel comic book run of Conan, which I still cherish.

Who is your hero/heroine?

My dad, for instilling the simple truth in me when I was young that once you start working you’ll work for the rest of your life. So, find something you enjoy doing and don’t worry about the money. Worry about being happy.

Which book do you wish you had written?

Watership Down. It is such an amazing book. I’ve read it a dozen times in my life. I absolutely love it.

Which three authors would you like to take to the pub?

I’m lucky enough to get to hang most nights with two authors and drink banana bread beer with them: Tim Baker and David Royall. If I got to choose three I’d never met before in person, it would be Joe McKinney, Bryan Hall and Vincent Hobbes. I think the four of us would have some great conversations.

Are you published or self-published? What is your experience?

I am a combination of both. I self-publish my own stuff through Rymfire Books, and then work with great small-press companies like Hobbes End Publishing and Angelic Knight Press, as well as a couple of others coming up in 2013.

How do you find the marketing experience?

Necessary evil. Writing these days is 25% actual writing and 75% marketing/branding yourself.

What advice would you give other writers just starting out?

Write everyday, no matter how awful you think it is; no matter how sick you feel, and no matter how many kids are running around screaming. Get something down each and every day, and build it.

Do you have a blog? What do you blog about?

I have a blog ( where I talk about my own writing and the mistakes and positives I’ve made as a writer. I also love to showcase other authors on it all the time, and introduce readers to people I read as well.

What other hobbies do you have?

Reading, watching sports, going out drinking and eating most nights, and spending way too much money. I like to make people laugh and be the clown.

What would you like to achieve in the next five years?

Just to build my brand, keep putting out stories people like, and seeing where this takes me. I’d love to be involved in TV shows and movies based on my work, and all that.

If you won the Lotto or a major publishing contract, what would you do with that dosh?

Take care of my friends and family, but after I’d spent some on myself. I want to buy an endless supply of M&Ms (plain or peanut, either way) and then get a superstar personal trainer, so I can keep the weight off.

Complete one of these stories in 100 words or less…

(option 3) One day Charlotte decided she was going to change the world... one diaper at a time. Even if the individual didn’t need a diaper changing. Imagine her surprise when the world’s population began lining up in the early mornings, waiting for their turn. Babies, old folks, kids on skateboards, even those already in diapers, all waiting patiently for Charlotte to change them, pat them on the butt, and make them feel better. Charlotte wished someone would bring her a cup of good coffee though.

What question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?

The answer is Damn Sexy. The question? Describe Armand Rosamilia in two words. 


#petsontour - a big thank you!

Hi! Petsontour came to an end yesterday. It was the first blog tour I'd done and a lot of fun.  It lasted a whopping five weeks too. Having to think up new guest posts kept me on my toes and it was a pleasure to tour with David M Brown

I'd like to say a big thank you to all of the bloggers who got involved in the tour and to Donna and David Brown for organising everything, and to Coral and The Indie Exchange for co-sponsoring us. It has been great.

For more news and the winners of the competition, please check the main tour link:

Once again, thank you bloggers as we couldn't have done it without you.
And thanks to all of the readers who stopped by to read our interviews, guest posts, character posts and other ramblings. 

The highlights for me were writing a new story where Kiwi the cat took me to Cat City and creating Pet Date with David. A big thanks to Nikki for her marvellous illustration, which brought the scene to life.

If you want to catch up with the posts from the tour, just check out the #petsontour tab.

Cheers everyone! You rock!!


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Poems on the theme of love

For Valentine's Day, some of my poems on the theme of love...

I don’t mind

I don’t mind
If you stare
Or paint the room in blue
While I sleep

I don’t mind
If you walk a while
Or smile in your style
And mimic your expression

I don’t mind
If the urge to be is too much
Or the strength to see is gone
While I dream

Haiku on the theme of love

She wakes with the morn,
Daisies woven in her hair;
So sprightly she laughs

In the glowing sun
She runs free, her arms outspread
Face tilted upward

Under sparkling stars
She laughs like water cascades
Rippling endlessly

Under twilight moons
In the shadows she dances
With amorous guile

He showers at night -
Rippling muscles of delight;
Water trickles down

In the aching heart
Sleep the locked passions untold,
Longing to escape

Chasing the dreamer,
My love drifts on the sea like
Petals in the wind

Some distant day she’ll
Return when she sees beauty
In a rainbow sing

These poems and others can be found in my poetry books - Kaleidoscope and Life's Rhythms.
Thanks for reading. Happy V Day!!! :)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

#petsontour - latest stops this week

Latest stops on the Raining Cats & Dogs Blog Tour!

I'm being interviewed at Read2Review about 3 Heads & a Tail - thanks Kate!

GMTA is running an excerpt from Kiwi in Cat City

David Brown is being interviewed at Gathering Leaves about Man vs Cat - thanks Cassie Kelley McCown

And Mr Kain from Man vs Cat is interviewed at GMTA - thanks Kate.

Finally, me and Dave wrote an exclusive new story especially for the tour called Pet Date - a lorra lorra fun - thanks to Megan for hosting us.

Cheers guys!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Furry Pet Date - without Cilla!

Latest post on the Raining Cats & Dogs Blog Tour that I'm doing with author David Brown - Pet Date! You've heard of Blind Date and Cilla Black? Well, this is our version. Pet Date, hosted by Silly Quack, and starring characters from our books - Kiwi, Charlie and Glen. Tune in for furry fun :) Big thanks to Megan for hosting us.

Plus there's a special illustration by Nikki McBroom, illustrator of the Kiwi books.

Check the #petsontour tab for the whole tour schedule.

Cheers :)))

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Romance is in the Air Giveaway Hop (Feb 8-14)

In the run-up to big old V-Day, I'm thrilled to be involved in the Romance is in the Air Blog Giveaway, organised by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by Rachael Anderson.

I'm giving away a paperback copy of my comedy romance 3 Heads & a Tail.
Five runners-up will receive ebook copies. Good luck!!
All you need to do is answer the questions in the Rafflecopter.

What is 3 Heads & a Tail?

I wrote this book for NaNoWriMo 2011, and it is a quirky comedy romance with a touch of fantasy and walkies. 

When nature lover Josie moves into a house share with two pals, dreamer Ben and model man David, she sees it as a short stop and doesn't bank on an attraction developing with one of them. Meanwhile, Ben's dog, Glen, has the hots for Miss Posh, the beautiful golden Lab in the park. When dog meets dog it's puppy love, but a complication leads to Glen taking matters into his own paws. In this comedy of errors, romance and walkies, it's anyone's guess who is going to win the girl/dog and live happily ever after.

Review from Donna Brown - Amazon UK 
"I like funny books. I like books that make me go Aaaahhhhh! and Squeeeeeee! Mr B likes them less. I'm sure it must be very hard to be a serious fantasy writer when your wife keeps reading one liners and laughing like a hyena. What can I say? The book is laugh out loud funny and deserves to be celebrated."

Don't forget to click on the various blogs on the linky to find more cool giveaways! Get your hands on some good romance. 

Happy reading :))))

Good luck everyone :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

#petsontour Kiwi takes ME to Cat City!

Thanks to Robbie for hosting me on the Raining Cats & Dogs Blog Tour. My post is a new story that I wrote yesterday in which Kiwi the cat (the heroine of the Kiwi Series) takes me to Cat City. Anyone who has read the books will know that she'll have to change me into something furry first...

For full details of the schedule and links running from 14 Jan to 14 Feb, click on the #petsontour tab. During the tour, myself and fellow author David M Brown will be posting interviews, guest posts, excerpts from our cat & dog books, and also allowing our characters to get their feelings off their furry chests. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

#petsontour - I do an interview

Thanks to Deborah Carney of Cool Pet Sites for hosting me today as part of the Raining Cats & Dogs Blog Tour that I'm doing with fellow author, David Brown - see the #petsontour tab above for the full schedule.

Today she is interviewing me about Kiwi in Cat City, which stars a magical black cat, and writing in general.

Here is a snippet from the interview...

For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?

Lol, yes! I can’t write until I have the characters in my head and I can see them. I don’t talk to them – although I used to talk to my cat Kiwi, if that counts! I talk through them instead. I have to see the scenes playing. I think of them and try to imagine them. The best thing is if you’re walking down the street and you suddenly see all this stuff in your imagination – that’s so cool. When everything goes quiet and there’s nothing up there, I’m thinking uh oh! But NaNoWriMo taught me that even if there’s nothing going on – no inspiration, so to speak – if you sit down and get out your laptop, something will come. It might not be great, but it will come!

Here's the link to read the post -

Friday, 1 February 2013

New review for Kiwi in Cat City

Got a great new review for Kiwi in Cat City today! Purrs :)
Thanks Amelia!!!

5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight for Cat LoversJanuary 31, 2013
This review is from: Kiwi in Cat City (Kiwi series) (Kindle Edition)
Kiwi in Cat City is about a little girl called Amy, her brother James and their cat Kiwi. After waking one night and seeing Kiwi leap out of the window, Amy rouses James to go with her to follow Kiwi to see where she goes and what she does at night.
Kiwi, who spots them tailing her, turns around and addresses them in their own human speak and subsequently invites them along on her nocturnal journey. After getting over the shock of hearing their cat talking to them, both children decide to do just that and tag along. Then, an even more surprising thing happens as they both turn onto cats themselves.
This book is beautifully written, with a great poetic prologue, and heaps of action, intrigue and fun. Ms. Johnstone's vivid imagination does her a great deal of credit. I am also assuming, by the not entirely complete ending, that another book will be following soon, which I look forward to reading as well. This is a great book for all ages.